Singer “Gold” was relaxing at his home in Buckinghamshire, England, during the blockade this week, when he found out he was the subject of a week-long rage thousands of miles away.
The riot centered around a national radio station, which asked listeners to identify 14 celebrities with just their voices to win a cash prize.
Muhammad Shalehan called Gold 905 on April 21 to offer his answer and got all correct – but the station felt he had mispronounced Hadley’s name and decided not to award the railway worker the Singapore $ 10,000 prize ($ 7,030).
Weeks later, another caller gave the same list of answers and was crowned the winner – causing a protest in Singapore that has rebounded for weeks.
“Our decision remains final,” the station announced Wednesday, precipitating the hopes of Shalehan and the army of supporters he had amassed.
That is, until Shalehan tracked down Hadley himself and the star entered.
“At first I thought, is it a hoax? Anyone on strike?” Hadley told CNN, speaking of her reaction after receiving a message from her manager with Shalehan’s request.
“I looked into it and realized that this guy, I thought, had won fairly and directly,” he added. “I didn’t understand what the problem was, I thought he had definitely pronounced my name correctly. It’s not the most difficult name to pronounce.”
So Hadley filmed a video telling Shalehan he deserved his winnings. Eventually he forced an apology to the station, which awarded Shalehan the prize for ending a wonderfully unique episode.
“He was robbed”
Initially the station was firm in the decision that Shalehan had said “Hadley” with an inflection too strong to earn the prize.
The “Celebrity Name Drop” game continued for more than two weeks after Shalehan entered, with him and the public assuming he had had a wrong answer. But in the end, another caller presented the same set of answers – and was crowned the winner.
The station was immediately flooded with messages on social media from confused fans, asking the same question: what about Shalehan?
“What happened? A really sad climax for a contest that was supposed to end in a big way,” wrote one user. “The title was robbed,” said another.
The station even posted an audio comparison on Facebook to clear up the confusion, playing Shalehan’s and the winner’s answers.
But Shalehan spent days pressuring Gold 905 to change the decision, firmly convinced that he had correctly pronounced the singer’s name.
“Have some integrity!” he pleaded on the station page, gathering dozens of supporters who bombarded the station’s social media channels for days with a request to reverse the route.
In an attempt to settle the two-week dispute, the station claimed to be “heartened by the passion shown by Mr. Shalehan” and privately offered him a gesture of “goodwill”.
“Although we had communicated to Mr Shalehan that our decision was final based on the rules of the competition, we are moved by his commitment and resourcefulness – including reaching Tony Hadley,” added the station in a statement.
But the controversy didn’t end there. “When they offered me the” consolation prize “, I felt a little offended,” Shalehan told CNN. He felt he was entitled to the full prize. He knew it was true, as Hadley would sing – and eventually decided to bring his fight to the man who had the power to know.
“He obviously felt quite offended, and rightly so,” Hadley told CNN. “He’s a very nice guy, and he and his wife are expecting baby number four at any moment,” added the singer, who spoke with Shalehan shortly before the station awarded him the prize.
“I listened to his pronunciation of my name, though, well, there’s nothing wrong with that.”
With this, Shalehan’s persistence was finally rewarded.
“We contacted Mr. Shalehan again to report that we are deeply sorry. Since Tony Hadley said that Mr. Shalehan correctly said his name, who do we disagree with?” the station said on Friday. “The full $ 10,000 cash and shopping prize will also go to Mr. Shalehan.”
“I’m so happy,” Shalehan told CNN. “The best news of my life,” he added in a Facebook post.
Shalehan thanked those who supported him. “For all of us / listeners we know I’m the right winner,” he added in the post. “(And) a big thank you to Mr. Tony Hadley for his efforts.”
Now the story has gone viral – and no one is more surprised than Hadley himself. “I didn’t know it would go global,” said the singer. “I guess everyone in these moments is looking for a good result.”